<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=915236666329042&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">
Skip to content
Call Us
This case explores the use of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) as a treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in a Vietnam War veteran. 
John*, a 75-year-old Vietnam War veteran came to us with a long-standing history of PTSD symptoms, including intrusive thoughts, nightmares, hypervigilance, and irritability.
During a firefight, John was hit by artillery in the head , arm and leg. He survived, but unfortunately 3 fellow servicemen next to him were immediately killed.
For years since the incident he has suffered with anxiety, resulting in severe panic attacks, depression, intermittent insomnia, nightmares and night terrors, as well as difficulty with interpersonal relationships. In the beginning he wasn't able to recognize why he was feeling this way, but after time realized that he was suffering from PTSD.
John receives medical care at the local VA hospital, and was attending regular counseling sessions and group therapy. Despite participating in conventional therapies, his symptoms persisted and significantly impacted his daily life, interpersonal relationships, and overall quality of life. In consultation with his healthcare provider, he decided to explore HBOT as an alternative treatment option. 


Patient Age: 75

Gender: Male 

Presentation: Patient presented with a long-standing history of PTSD symptoms, including intrusive thoughts, nightmares, panic attacks, anxiety, depression, hyper-vigilance and irritability. 

Health History: Blast induced PTSD. Patient receives medical care at his local VA hospital, and was attending regular counseling sessions as well as group therapy.

Personalized Treatment Protocol: Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy 5 days a week for a total of 40 sessions. Session length of 60 minutes at 1.5 ATA.

Patient Outcome:

Patient was reassessed using the CAPS and PCL-5. The post-treatment scores demonstrated a significant reduction in overall symptom severity compared to baseline.

The patient reported a decrease in intrusive thoughts, nightmares, hypervigilance, and irritability. Additionally, improvements were noted in his mood, sleep quality, and overall functioning. He also reported a greater sense of calmness, improved ability to manage stress, and enhanced social interactions.

Untitled (2240 × 900 px)

Notes from the clinical team at HMS about HBOT for PTSD

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a debilitating psychiatric condition that can develop following exposure to traumatic events. Among veterans, PTSD is very prevalent. Standard treatment options for PTSD include psychotherapy, medication, and cognitive-behavioral interventions. However, not all individuals respond favorably to these approaches, necessitating the exploration of alternative therapies such as Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT).

Dr. Katz Quote about PTSD

HBOT involves the administration of 100% oxygen in a pressurized chamber, allowing the patient to breathe in oxygen at a higher pressure than atmospheric conditions. The increased pressure facilitates the dissolving of oxygen into the bloodstream, resulting in elevated tissue oxygen levels. This therapy has been primarily used for treating conditions like decompression sickness, non-healing wounds, and carbon monoxide poisoning.

HBOT and Neuroplasticity

Neuroplasticity refers to the brain's ability to reorganize and adapt its structure and function in response to experiences, learning, and changes in the environment. It involves the creation of new neural connections, strengthening existing ones, and even rewiring neural pathways. This process is essential for learning, memory formation, and recovery from brain injuries or diseases.

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) has been suggested to improve neuroplasticity by enhancing oxygen delivery to the brain, promoting neurogenesis, and reducing inflammation. 

Over the years weve treated hundreds of patients experiencing miltary-based PTSD. One patient who had a very similar story to this case, but was borderline suicidal and we were concerned he was a danger to himself - (1)


The positive outcomes observed in this case suggest that HBOT may hold promise as an effective treatment option for individuals with treatment-resistant PTSD, even for PTSD originating as far back as the  Vietnam War. The potential mechanisms of action of HBOT, including increased tissue oxygenation, modulation of neuroinflammation, and promotion of neuroplasticity, may contribute to its therapeutic effects in PTSD. 

More about the Author & Co-Author:

This case was presented and co-authored by Jodi Velocci, RPA-C, one of our lead physician assistants, who is overseen by Alan Katz, MD, our National Medical Director.

Hyperbaric Medical Solutions

Written by Hyperbaric Medical Solutions

Hyperbaric Medical Solutions is a free-standing, independent medical practice, providing hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT). HBOT is an advanced healing therapy that treats conditions that benefit from increased oxygen concentration and absorption in the body....

Read More